Why twitter, other platforms must register to operate – FG

The Federal Government says its directive that Over the Top (OTT) and social media platforms operating in the country must register and obtain license to operate in conformity with global trend.

The Minister Information and Culture, Alhaji said this on Friday when he featured on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) programme “Good Morning Nigeria’’ monitored by the News Agency Nigeria (NAN).

NAN reports that the Federal Government recently suspended operations Twitter and directed that all OTT and social media platforms operating in the country must register with Corporate Affairs Commission.

The Federal Government said they must also apply for licensing with the National Broadcasting Commission ( NBC).

NAN reports that OTT media service a media service offered directly to viewers via the internet.

The minister said if the platforms were registered and issued with licenses, operations would be regulated within the terms of registrations.

He said it was unfortunate that most the OTT and social media had no offices in Nigeria where they operated and made billions dollars without paying any tax.

Mohammed said the advent social media platforms took the by the that many countries did not know whether they were operating as commercial communication or information tools.

He said many countries had now woken up to the reality and had commenced regulating the platforms and Nigeria would not be an exception.

“Singapore regulates the social media, Australia has done so, even EU that does not have particular laws on social media has made recommendations in a white paper.

“The EU says that social media platforms that publish content that are harmful to the security of a nation or make such impressionable move, such content should be removed,’’ he said.

To further justify his position, the minister said that UK on Wednesday planned a new law which would make social media companies be fined up to10 per cent of turnover or 18 million pounds (about N10.8 billion) if they failed to stamp out online abuses.

He said Google was fined 220 million Euros (about N110 billion) on June 7,  by French Competition Regulator for abusing its dominance in the online advertising market in France.

Similarly, the minister said the Federal Cabinet of Pakistan on Wednesday approved a new set of rules to regulate social media.

In the rules, according to the minister, companies such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even TikTok were to register and open offices in Pakistan.

Mohammed said in compliance with new online broadcasting rule of Turkey, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video had obtained licenses with the country’s broadcasting authority.

The minister said with all the development, the condemnations by some foreign missions on the action taken by the Federal Government against twitter as well as its decision to regulate the social media was unfair.

“We must make the distinction between those countries that are trying to protect economic and commercial interest from those who are genuinely talking about freedom of speech.

“We should also realise that it because we have a country called Nigeria that we are discussing freedom of speech.

“Unfortunately, our people are the ones giving vent and protecting twitter more than twitter itself under the guise of freedom of expression.

“I believe that Nigeria still rank among the countries with the freest media in the today.

“Facebook, Google hang out, Whatsapp, Instagram are still operating in Nigeria.

“Why will the heavens fall because we are suspending twitter because it promoting insurgency,’’ he said.

The minister reiterated that there was nowhere in the where activities of twitter was proven to be supporting separatist that it would not be suspended. (NAN)